Category: celery

Move Over, Minnestrone (Vegetable Soup)

I am generally not a soup person. The idea of having something that’s both liquidy and chunky at the same time on my spoon just doesn’t jive in my head, nor does it feel right in my mouth. That being said, there have always been a few exceptions: matzah ball soup, for one. And, well, who can resist clam chowdah (…in a bread bowl, in San Francisco, at that?) Otherwise, soup is rarely a headliner, neither a sidekick on my table.

However, today, while staring blankly into my fridge as I often do, I found myself staring at my box of vegetable stock and slightly craving a warm cup of broth to soothe my sore throat. Known to some as Jewish Penicillin, chicken soup has been widely known as the go-to meal for generations of cold and flu sufferers. However, my lack of wanting to eat chicken, combined with the medley of vegetables in my refrigerator that have decided to wilt in unison, inspired me to stir up a vegetable-based bouillon.
Chop. Pour. Simmer. Who knew three simple steps could release the most magical aroma into the air? 
Soon after, I sat on the couch, sipping the magical masterpiece with my roommate while discussing possible names for my most fantastic creation. His favorite part was the sweetness provided by the corn, whereas I thoroughly enjoyed the colourful combination. 
I suggested “Rainbow Soup.” 
He said, “That’s corny.”
I laughed. Hard. 

Corny Rainbow Soup
an original recipe by allison sklar

what you’ll need
1 box vegetable broth (I used Campbells)
3 stalks celery, chopped
4 medium carrots, chopped
1 zucchini, diced
1 can sweet corn
1 can San Marzano plum tomatoes, diced
1 tbsp red pepper (chilli) flakes (Optional)
how to do it
Toss diced vegetables into pot. Cover with broth.  Heat on medium. Once soup comes to a boil, add corn & red pepper flakes & stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 25 minutes. 
Serve garnished with shaved parmigiano reggiano cheese, if desired. 

You Just Might Make Friends With Salad. (This Time).

I’ve never liked lettuce.

Being a vegetarian for so many years, this fact has often startled people.  Each time that I tell someone that I dislike lettuce, the reaction that I receive generally follows the same pattern. It begins with a baffled, “but how could you not like lettuce?” And is often followed by ” So I guess you don’t eat salad, then?”

Ah, how I love receiving that follow-up question. Each and every time, I’ll respond with, “actually, I love salad.” I then adore watching the person’s facial transformation – twisting mouth and furrowing brow – as he or she becomes even more confused. If the person does not immediately conclude that I am simply delusional, I will begin my usual – salads-don’t-need-lettuce rant.

Salads do not (always) need lettuce.

Now, you may have heard that you don’t make friends with salad, but I think that that is only because most people are doing it all wrong. There are so many vegetable possibilities out there – all you need is two or three of them, and you’ve got yourself a salad. Lettuce-free.


My two favorite salad combinations are: 1. Cucumber, tomato and celery and 2. Spinach, dried cranberries and almonds. Lately, however, I’ve been on a more exotic/experimental gourmet salad kick. I started the week off with a fabulous concoction of pan-seared red pear slices, brie and chopped walnuts. And then, yesterday, I picked that – as I discovered today at lunch – is even tastier once it’s been marinating for a while. Unlike lettuce salads that become soggy a day later – this salad maintained it’s crunch beautifully.

Go ahead and make some friends.


Marinated Fennel & Cucumber Salad
 an original recipe by Allison Sklar

what you’ll need
for the dressing: 
1/8 cup rice vinegar (any other light-tasting vinegar will do)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp mustard powder (acts as an emulsifier)
1 tsp dried crushed oregano
1/2 tsp garlic or onion powder (or both, if desired)
for the salad:
1/3 fennel bulb, chopped into thin slices
1 carrot, coarsely grated
2 lebanese cucumbers, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
handful toasted almond slices


how to do it
Combine all dressing ingredients and whisk until well blended. Toss vegetables to coat. Marinate for at least one hour – the longer, the better. If you desire lettuce, add some shredded iceberg just before serving.